It has been an open secret for years that Japan bribes other nations to vote against the moratorium on commercial whaling. Everybody involved in the issue who has attended a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has seen the flagrant influence peddling, the expensive dinners and hotel rooms, the call girls and the gifts bestowed upon representatives of under-developed nations in return for their vote to slaughter whales.

Japan has been playing the pimp to IWC representatives for decades. We've heard delegates from African and the West Indies bragging around the bar about the girls provided for them by Japan, we have seen them taking cash from members of the Japanese whaling delegation, and we have been witness to their slavish parroting of Japanese propaganda in defense of whaling, and we have seen them unquestionably mimic Japan's vote on every resolution without thought or argument.

What other reason would any nation have to attend the IWC other than to kill whales or to conserve and protect whales? Both sides have vested interests. One side wants to profit from bloody slaughter, and the other wishes to profit from whale watching or to satisfy the interests of their conservation minded citizens. A third group simply offers their votes for sale. These are nations that have no vested interest in whaling, and in many cases their positions are in direct contradiction to the opinions and positions of their own citizens. It's not about whales or whaling, it's about having a good time and making the Japanese pay for it.

In other words, they whore out their vote in exchange for cash and sexual favors.

And the official Japanese whaling delegation is more than willing to fork out the dough.

It's a sleazy annual orgy of special interests in a different exotic location every year. This year it is Morocco, last year it was Madeira, and Santiago, Chile the year before that.    

Japan has tossed out science as a criteria for management and has found that money is a better "management" tool. Science tends to be inconvenient, whereas cash can always be counted on to deliver desired results.

Earlier this year, the credibility of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was compromised when Japan and China bribed the votes to ensure that every marine species recommended by scientists for listing as endangered were not listed. And thus the five species of shark, two species of coral, the bluefin tuna, and the Polar bear were tossed back to the human jackals to be further diminished.

This year Japan is leaning on developed nations with threats of trade retaliation and bribing underdeveloped nations with cash, travel, and especially talented comfort women to secure their votes to lift the international moratorium on commercial whaling.

All of this has been known for years by those who attend the annual meetings of the IWC.

Now on the eve of the IWC meeting in Morocco, the United Kingdom's Sunday Times has rocked the commission to it's core by exposing the political corruption and economic leverage that the Japanese have been encouraging to force the IWC to submit to their demands for the restoration on commercial whaling.

The Sunday Times investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales in a brilliant and well orchestrated undercover sting that found officials from six countries who were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission.

The Times revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, the Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:

- They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.

- They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.

- One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.

Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed "disgraceful, shady practice", which is "effectively buying votes."

The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.

The governments of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea, and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes in return for aid.

The top fisheries official for Guinea said Japan usually gave his minister a "minimum" of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during IWC and other fisheries meetings.

He said three Japanese organizations were used to channel the payments to his country: the fisheries agency, the aid agency, and the Overseas Fisheries Co-operation Foundation.

Japan has recruited some of the world's smallest countries on to the IWC to bolster its support. A senior fisheries official for the Marshall Islands said, "We support Japan because of what they give us."

A Kiribati fisheries official said his country's vote was determined by the "benefit" it received in aid. He, too, said Japan gave delegates expenses and spending money.

The IWC commissioner for Tanzania said "good girls" were made available at the hotels for ministers and senior fisheries civil servants during all-expenses paid trips to Japan.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will have representatives in Morocco later this month, but more importantly we will be returning to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to once again negate illegal Japanese whaling profits and to once again save the lives of as many whales as possible next December.

During the last season, Sea Shepherd's pursuit and intervention of the Japanese whaling fleet saved the lives of 528 whales, saving more whales than the whalers were able to kill.

Until there is a top to bottom reconstitution of the IWC addressing the organization's endemic corruption, Sea Shepherd will consider the results of the coming vote at the 62nd IWC sleazy junket in Morocco as being unrepresentative, fraudulent, and irrelevant.

Links:

*   Flights, girls and cash buy Japan whaling votes
*   Ban on whaling to be overturned
*   Limited commercial whale hunts proposed by IWC

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